Russia defends intercept of U.S. reconnaissance plane over Baltic

By Reuters   April 30, 2016 | 05:19 pm GMT+7
Russia defends intercept of U.S. reconnaissance plane over Baltic
An U.S. Navy picture shows what appears to be a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 attack aircraft flying over the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea in this picture taken April 12, 2016 and released April 13, 2016. Two Russian warplanes with no visible weaponry flew near the destroyer in what one U.S. official described as one of the most aggressive interactions in recent memory. REUTERS/US Navy

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Saturday it had sent a fighter plane on Friday to intercept a U.S. aircraft approaching its border over the Baltic Sea because the American plane had turned off its transponder, which is needed for identification.

The Pentagon said the U.S. Air Force RC-135 plane had been flying a routine route in international airspace and that the Russian SU-27 fighter had intercepted it in an "unsafe and unprofessional" way. CNN reported that the Russian jet had come within about 100 feet (30 meters) of the U.S. plane and had performed a barrel roll.

"All flights of Russian planes are conducted in accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace," the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

"The U.S. Air Force has two solutions: either not to fly near our borders or to turn the transponder on for identification.

 
 
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